More than 100 New Jersey students who were recently selected to receive scholarships from the Give Something Back Foundation gathered on the campus of The College of New Jersey on Saturday for an inaugural fall kickoff event with their families, mentors, and supporters of the foundation.
Thirty foster youth from the South Jersey First Star Collaborative who were selected for scholarships in July also attended the event.
The Give Something Back Foundation, founded by Princeton resident Bob Carr, provides mentoring and scholarships to qualified students of modest means so then can attend college and graduate in four years with no debt. Carr, the former CEO of Heartland Payment Systems, sold his Fortune 1000 company earlier this year for $4.3 billion.
“The support from Give Back provides college access to bright, talented students who would not likely have the opportunity otherwise, and puts them on the path to success,” said Carr. “It’s an honor to help positively impact these young people by giving them more hope for a better life.”
Last spring the foundation selected 80 Pell Grant-eligible ninth graders from across the state for the program. The organization has now begun the process of pairing students with trained adult mentors to support them throughout high school.
After high school graduation, students attend Give Something Back’s partner universities, including Rowan University, The College of New Jersey, Montclair State University, Saint Peter’s University, the New Jersey Institute of Technology, and William Paterson University.
The fall kickoff event celebrated the successes of the scholars who have worked hard all year to apply to the program.
“So many of these students have improved their grades significantly since learning they received scholarships last spring,” said Kelly Dun, executive director of Give Something Back’s Mid-Atlantic chapter, which is based in Pennington. “A big load has been lifted off their shoulders and now they can look forward to meeting their mentors, taking part in the many activities we have planned for them and getting the most out of their years in high school.”
Give Back requires scholarship recipients to maintain a 3.0 grade point average, take college prep courses, and demonstrate admirable character. Upon high school graduation, students must meet the standard admissions requirements of Give Something Back’s partner colleges.
Five ninth graders from Princeton High School have been awarded full scholarships to area colleges by the foundation. Princeton resident Scott Sipprelle partnered with Carr, offering to donate $100,000 to the foundation to send five Princeton High students to college if Carr would match the amount and fund another five students. The pair pledged to send five Princeton High School students from the class of 2019 to college and five from the class of 2020.
Carr hopes all the scholars will be inspired to pay the favor forward later in life.
“We want to help students realize their full potential and encourage them to give back in the future through their time or money,” he said. “That is the best way we can sustain this organization, and by the looks of the increasingly costly college tuition bills that put so many families into deep debt, this foundation needs to endure.”
To learn more about the Give Something Back Foundation or to apply to be a mentor, visit the organization’s website at www.giveback.ngo.